Extending my Comfort Zone

I’m a costumer who was originally trained to build theatre costumes but has adapted to build things that are up close and personal with the audience rather than “20 feet from a moving train.”  Many of our staff have had people lift up their skirts (or pat their bustles or pull their muttonchops) to see how they’re constructed (or what’s under there).  We do cut some corners for speed, but I do like to do things fundamentally right.

One of the things I’m uncomfortable with is tailoring.  And I’m not talking alterations, which is what tailoring has come to mean in our time of iron-on-interfacings and dry cleaners, I’m talking hand-canvassing and taping.  We learned how to do very basic canvassing and taping on waistcoat fronts, but never the steps to do it on jackets (which require a lot of work and padding and all sorts of intimidating things).  But we have a book that certainly gives some very good guidelines, so every once in awhile, I pull it out and try a bit.

Right now I’m building a woman’s jacket for 1920 Street.  I’m not padding the front, but I am attaching the canvas by hand, and doing my favourite part, creating the roll.

Pics from the Textile Display

Below are my display pics.  I don’t like to put people on my blog so missing is a photo of my friend H spinning wool.  I spun cotton from the boll and handed the seeds to people, encouraging them to plant them in south-facing windows (we don’t have the growth season up here that you need for cotton, especially this year!).  Many of the visitors were surprised at the plant spinning fibres and most people loved how soft the cashmere was.

Plant table.

Protein table.

Weaving table.  I gave out 14 cardboard rigid heddle looms!

It’s Days Like These

When I realise how great my job is.  I get the opportunity to work with beautiful fabrics, hang out with like-minded people, and create in a rather fabulous space.

This week I’m building a Fortune Teller’s costume for our Midway out of fabrics purchased from three different local stores including rayon (“man made silk” was very popular in the 1920s), silk and cotton.

Tomorrow I’m doing a textile demo with friends.  There will be fibre prepping, spinning and weaving, including getting people to weave Travis’s way.  I like the idea of kids (and perhaps adults) sitting on the floor or ground with yarn strapped from their waists to their toes (scroll down for visual reference) making fabric.

The Knitting and Crochet Blog Week Day 4 – A New Skill – knitcroblo4

I couldn’t think of a new skill I wanted to learn knitting- or crochet-wise as I’m a project-inspired crafter.  I don’t typically seek to learn how to do something new until I’ve seen someone else’s project that makes me squeal and desperately want to do it.

But then I realised there is a skill I’m looking to learning; weaving.  I know the very basics of weaving.  I made a scarf for my mother out of bamboo and cotton a couple of years ago with the help of my friend and former silver smithing instructor who is a member of the local weavers’ and spinners’ guild, and then we had the looms donated to the costume shop and now I’ve woven the “Rainbow Brite” sash.

Picnik isn’t working today (I downloaded the latest Flash AND tried three different browsers) so I had to edit it in PAINT!

I learned a lot by this project alone as it’s the first one I warped without guidance (but I did have help).  I still have a lot to learn about sett and tension and planning ahead, but I’m really happy with the results, and the person who is getting to wear it is excited by the prospect which is lovely too.

Happily, I got a weavers’ and spinners’ guild membership for Christmas and it comes into effect in May, so I’ll soon be able to pick the brains of people who have been doing this kind of thing for a really long time!  And maybe they’ll help me stay on task with my spinning homework too…

Snow Sheep

I looked out my office window yesterday evening and spotted a couple of the sheep pawing through the snow looking for snacky-snacks.

And this morning I looked out my window and saw a coyote sniffing around but I was on the phone and couldn’t have gotten a picture with my point and shoot camera anyway as it was too far away.

1905 Mourning Hat

1905 Mourning Hat

I built the structure out of buckram and wire, covered it with silk and it’s lined with navy viscose lining and striped grosgrain ribbon.  I made the flowers out of (sadly) polyester ribbon; there aren’t a lot of sources for silk ribbon in Edmonton.

Insert Title Here

I couldn’t think of a title for this post.  Weird.

I was going to post a 1920s outfit I just constructed but I don’t like any of the photos.  So here are some flowers I’m constructing to put on a mourning hat for 1905 street.

Black Ribbon Flowers

And a scarf I made for work out of fisherman’s rib (there are no purls in the construction of this scarf).

Fisherman's Rib Scarf

And I’ve started another blog.  It’s going to be random photos without explanations, just titles.  Visit it or don’t, it’s just something I wanted to do.

1920s Sheath

1920s Sheath

I just finished this costume yesterday.  It’s for one of our hotel staff.  The black and orange swirled fabric is 100% rayon (which was a popular fabric in the 1920, known as man-made silk), and the solid orange is a cotton/silk blend.  I used glass beads at the neck edge, and hand stitched the asymmetrical and slightly handkerchief-y hem.

1920s Sheath Bead Work

And the bias-cut viscose slip for underneath.

Bias Slip

Sorry the photos are so bad, my camera and I were having problems finding decent lighting.  I tried outside but it was way too windy.